Friday, April 25, 2008


Presenting Episode Six; which can be thought of as a sort-of followup to Episode Two. We discuss (well.. I discuss, at least) the somewhat uncomfortable and not-at-all clearcut issue of objectification of women in the video game medium, the likely cultural/societal reasons for it, the ramifications of these design choices on gamers and gamer-culture, possible solutions and any other serious-sounding excuse I can find to run suggestive pictures of the girls from "Dead or Alive." Helloooooo, web traffice ;)

This is the first one of these to hit where I haven't used the sound-speed editing at all, so I hope people aren't too dissapointed to learn how dull my normal speaking voice is.

Overall, I'm happy with how this one turned out considering actually picking a definative point of view was kind of a challenge. On the one hand, as I admit more-or-less upfront in the video-proper.. I not only COMPLETELY understand "why" game designers tend to present their female characters in these ways - I don't see a damn thing wrong with it in the broad sense: You want characters to be appealing, and it doesn't get much more appealing than a sexy, large-breasted girl wearing next to nothing jumping around with ninja skills and yelping in Manga-nese. It's not a new phenomenon, look up a 1940s comic book character called "Phantom Lady" sometime. On the other hand, when you take a step back and look at the medium objectively the fact that characters as ridiculously proportioned/costumed as Mai Shiranui or "Soul Calibur's" Ivy tend to pass entirely without comment (other than "whoa," I mean) well... that says and implies a lot of things about game culture and NONE of it is especially flattering.

So... it's not that I want to see Team Ninja sign all the girls up for reduction-surgery or anything, but we DO probably want to be more aware of how this fits in to the culture, perceptions and all of that. I mean, just keep in mind: The "Tomb Raider" series has NEVER had a single installment that was anything other than average as an overall game, but was SOMEHOW popular and well-known enough to warrant two huge-budget movies starring an Academy Award winner. Lara Croft has TWO movies while Link and Zelda don't have ONE... entirely on the basis of digitally-rendered titties. That's what's known as letting things get out of hand, people.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

EPISODE FIVE: "Patriot Games"

There's been a meme going around talk radio and the right-wing blogosphere for about a year now that video games (or, rather, Military FPS games) are becoming the new #1 entertainment for "patriotic" Americans, replacing the output of "liberal" Hollywood. I'm callin' BULLSHIT on this one, details in the video:

I'll be honest, I'm not 100% satisfied with how this one came out. The 10-minute time limit on YouTube meant I had to use the sped-up sound more than I would've liked to, and while it means I got out what I wanted to in terms of words I'm concerned that it undercuts some of the more serious matters I'm stumbling around swatting at with a wiffle-bat. Overall, I think it's as good as I can make it within current circumstances, and the important thing is I think the point gets across. It's not so much that I have a problem with the IDEA of video games having a conservative and/or pro-war political bent, I just happen to think those propping up this whole notion are grasping at straws and damaging the medium as a result.

The subject-matter has been on my to-do list since before Episode One, but I've been hesitant to jump into politics too early. This is meant to be about the culture surrounding a hobby, not a political machine, and if you get into politics before establishing a broader identity you risk getting pigeonholed as "a liberal commentator" or "right-wing game rant guy" which can turn off a lot of people unnecessarily. For what it's worth, I'm generally libertarian-leaning independent. I loathe Hillary Clinton, I find Obama's cheezy tent-revival schtick insufferable even though he seems like a nice fella otherwise, I admire the hell out of John McCain and voted for him in the Republican primary BUT I'm against unnecessarily prolonging the Iraq War plus I've nothing but contempt for the current administration. Make of that what you will.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I'm not going to make it a habit to post things other than new video clips here, (if you MUST subject yourself to me in essay-form, check out but given the events of the last 24 hours I felt the need for a more-proper intro here. For earlier (read: pre-4/12/08) readers and friends who may not have noticed, the mighty was nice enough to put OverThinker Episode One up on it's Submission Sunday page yesterday, and as a result that episode and the other four have gone overnight from a slow trickle of views to thousands.

And, really... Wow. I'm kind of in shock. While this may sound disingenuous coming from a guy with TWO blogs... I'm not really good at seeking/recieving attention. So this is pretty wild, for me. But I want all you folks linking here from The YouTubes to know that I'm just incredibly grateful for all the positive feedback so far (and the negative is helpful in it's way, too.)

Also, let me use the opportunity to answer a few questions/comments that seem to have come up an awful lot in the YouTube talkbacks for each vid:

1.) Yes, the speed does change from bit to bit in some of the clips. YouTube only lets you post 10 minutes or less, so in some cases I've done some speeding-up of the recording in order to trim seconds here and there. I'm trying to cut back on this and/or bring more direct attention to it in future installments, because the sped-up speaking makes it sound like I'm trying to steal Yahtzee's routine ( which is something I definately want to avoid as much as possible.

2.) Speaking of which, let me put this to bed right now: Yahtzee and The Angry Video-Game Nerd (who's videos are posted at and their GameTrailers associate-page, do yourself a favor and check him out, he's the man) are both 10,000 times better at this than I am. The comparisons are appreciated, really... but I'm not worthy of them. Hell, Yahtzee has a new full review up every week and can actually talk that fast - that's just fucking astounding.

3.) I'll probably be sticking more to cultural-commentary than reviews at this time, mostly for practical purposes: I'm not exactly wealthy and don't have regular access to every new game and/or system, nor does work permit to finish games in a timely enough fashion for a review to be very relevant by the time I could provide it. That being said, "Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword" for the DS? BUY IT.

So, um... yeah. Thanks for visiting, and I hope you continue to enjoy the videos!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

EPISODE FOUR: "The End of The World as Wii Know It?"

As the runaway success of The Wii seems poised to kick-off a second Nintendo Age, so-called "hardcore gamers" are predicting a dire outcome from the influx of "casual players." The OverThinker isn't so sure... because he's been here once before.

EPISODE THREE: "A Kirby Confession"

The OverThinker makes a plea for open-mindedness among hardcore gamers, and comes clean about his onetime rejection of one of gaming's greatest.

EPISODE TWO: "Super Mario & The Sacred Feminine"

The OverThinker agrees that the portrayal of women in video games leaves something to be desired. Conventional wisdom says it all goes back to Super Mario and "save the princess"... but The OverThinker feels conventional wisdom has got it all wrong.

EPISODE ONE: "A Matter of Character."

In the debut installment, the overwhelming awesomeness of "No More Heroes" leads the OverThinker to lament the lack of originality in the modern game world.